Football: Bosnich excels as United win world club title

WORLD CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: Sir Alex Ferguson praises Australian goalkeeper as he repels Palmeiras threat and Keane delivers the decisive blow; Manchester United 1 Palmeiras 0

NOW IT IS official: Manchester United are champions of the world. In an occasionally thrilling game in the National Stadium here, United defeated Palmeiras of Brazil to become the first British team to win the Toyota European South American Cup.

United were often under severe pressure and owe their success to some excellent goalkeeping by Mark Bosnich which ensured that a single goal - by Roy Keane in the 35th minute - was enough to earn victory.

On a cold Tokyo evening, United proved once again their ability to win the big games. "We're very pleased to win the World Championship and we're very proud to be the first English team to do so. It's something special," said, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.

Ferguson was full of praise for Bosnich's display but added that it was no more than he expected. "This shows the ability we always knew he had," said the United manager. "But I think this may solidify his reputation as a keeper. Sometimes you need one noteworthy performance."

Fielding an unusual five-man midfield, United started slowly and the first half saw Palmeiras gradually gain the upper hand. Faustino Asprilla's running and some incisive Palmeiras passing often troubled the United defence.

The first real chance fell to Palmeiras' young hopeful Alex in the 20th minute. A well-worked move put him through on Bosnich but the Australian goalkeeper made his first of a series of critical saves.

Palmeiras's domination was rudely broken by United's goal. Denis Irwin, counter-attacking quickly, pumped the ball along the line for Ryan Giggs, who outpaced the Palmeiras centre- half, Junior Baiano, before crossing. The ball sailed beyond the reach of the goalkeeper Marcos and Keane, at the back post, scored from six yards.

United sought to build on the lead, but it was Palmeiras who continued to threaten most danger, with Mickael Silvestre clearing Alex's header off the United goalline.

United replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Dwight Yorke for the second half as the game became a much more open contest. Giggs had a chance to stretch United's lead in the 58th minute but shot wide of an open goal.

The balance of play began to flow away from Palmeiras, but they continued to create scoring opportunities after their coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, reinvigorated his attack by bringing on Evair and Oseas in place of Galeano and Asprilla. Both created problems for United, Evair working well with Junior on the left and Oseas going close in the 74th minute, only Bosnich's reflexes saving United. Minutes later Bosnich again denied Palmeiras an equaliser, tipping a shot by Alex from the edge of the penalty area over the crossbar.

"My players' technique and set-plays were good," said the Palmeiras coach, Scolari, who was also a loser with Gremio four years ago against Ajax. "They brought the ball to the goal but didn't put it in. It was Bosnich's day, not our strikers'. He made some great saves."

Sir Alex admitted that Palmeiras outplayed United in the first half while Scolari admired United's consistency. "It was a very good and open game," said the United manager. "Palmeiras played very well. At times we rode our luck."

Giggs, who was awarded man of the match by the Japanese journalists for his teasing runs and won a new Toyota car, was keen to share the credit, citing United's strong "spine". Of the cross that beat the Palmeiras goalkeeper, Marcos, to set up Keane's goal, he said: "We noticed the balls were really flying in training and that's something we tried to work on. Maybe that had something to do with beating the keeper."

As an event, the game may serve as a foretaste of the 2002 World Cup. The Japanese organisers excited the capacity crowd with a laser and fireworks show and pumped out music by Beethoven and Queen to set the mood. Travelling and resident Brazilian fans were in stronger voice than the Japanese pro- Manchester majority for much of the game.

However, one possible worry was crowd control. The youthful-looking security staff seemed at a loss when a shouting match between a small number of Brazilian and British fans threatened to escalate. The trouble was limited, but the staff were slow to deal with the threat.

For all the questions about whether the Toyota Cup is the real world championship or whether it will be replaced by the forthcoming Club World Championship, no team that has won it expresses any doubt about its worth. And Manchester United are not exceptions.

Manchester United: Bosnich, Irwin, Stam, G Neville, Silvestre, Keane, Scholes (Sheringham, 75), Butt, Beckham, Solskjaer (Yorke, h-t), Giggs. Substitutes not used: Taibi (gk), P Neville, Wallwork, Higginbottom, Fortune.

Palmeiras: Marcos, Junior Baiano, Arce, J Junior, Roque Junior, Zinho, Sampaio, Galeano (Evair, 54), Alex, Asprilla (Oseas, 56), Paulo Nunes (Euller, 77). Substitutes not used: Sergio, Conceicao, Regis, T dos Santos.

Referee: H Krug (Germany).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there